As you've probably figured, I'm travelling with my significant other/boyfriend/partner-in-crime, Alan. He feels compelled to share some of his stories and thoughts on the road on my humble blog - I didn't force him, promise! This may become a regular feature, if Alan retains the writing bug. His first post is about Kuta, Bali. You can read my post on our time in Kuta here.
Up until this moment Christie has carefully drafted and completed all of the blogs on the Butterfly Editions. It was her goal to create and establish a blog that people would find insightful and entertaining whilst also providing some detailed information to our extended friends and family as to what we have been up to, and for our own memories.
Whilst I’m generally lying on the bed next to her reading her kindle and providing little to no help, after six weeks of travelling I have decided that it is time to give this blog thing a crack and maybe provide a slightly different point of view to our travelling adventures.
I'm writing this in my budget room on Coral Beach on the Perhentian Islands off the east coast of Malaysia. Pretty sweet huh? Except that it’s uncomfortably hot (30+deg) and due to the looming monsoon season and the lack of tourists the place we are staying in only runs power from 7pm to 7am, so I can’t even turn on the fan!
So what to write about? Christie writes about all the places we’ve been to and what we get up to so I’m not going to repeat that. I can’t specifically recall any funny stories, so I think I’ll write a series of blogs that give some insight to my specific highlights of my month in Indonesia, and hopefully throw in a few good tips!
Kuta - It’s Pretty Cool
I’d never been to Bali before and I guess in my mind I had this image of a tropical paradise, the pristine white sand, crystal clear blue water, palm trees swaying in the cool ocean breeze. Kuta is kind of that but not really. The beaches are ok, I mean they’re nice, there’s a little bit of trash but not too bad, but if you’re travelling on a budget you’ll probably see and experience a side of kuta that you weren’t quite expecting. Yes, there’s the luxury resorts with the fancy swimming pools and nice restaurants right on the oceanfront, but if you’re like me and only want to spend NZD$20 a night on accommodation, you’ll end up a few streets back having fun in the economy section.
Here’s where the fun begins. Now you have to negotiate the narrow one lane streets plagued with the never ending hoard of scooters that beep at you. Its kind if like playing a game of dodgeball except you’re dodging moving scooters. Not to mention that there is no footpath, so once you've managed to safely cross now you have to meander along the side of the road side stepping down a narrow path on the edge of danger not wanting to fall into the abyss that is oncoming traffic.
Once you’ve figured out crossing the street, you have to find your way around. You can stick to the ‘main’ streets which will add an extra 15 minutes and 1 litre of sweat to your journey, or you can cut through the narrow labyrinth of alley ways. Back in New Zealand these would be for pedestrians only as they can just fit two people walking side by side, but in Bali these are still considered roads. Now when a scooter comes your way you literally have to twist sideways and reverse hug the wall, not put your foot in the open drain and look out for squished rats (yes I saw two of them). You don’t want your jandalled foot going anywhere near that stuff.
Yay! Now you’ve made it to Legian St. This is the main drag in Kuta, this is where you can get your fake Oakleys and Ray Ban sunnies, don’t pay anymore than 50,000 rupiah though (NZD$5) even then your probably getting ripped off. Maybe you’ll find a sweet Rolex or some new Nikes, remember to bargain hard and be prepared to walk away if you aren't getting a good deal. Don’t worry about missing out, there will literally be a exact replica of that shop and merchandise probably right next door. Seriously it’s like deja vu all over Indonesia, they all sell the same crap!
Once you’ve wandered past the shops, said 'no thank you ' a dozen times to the pushy salesmen, had a squizz at the bars and restaurants and made a mental note to come back for happy hour, you going to want to find the beach. Just follow some dude with his surfboard perilously attached to his scooter and you’ll find it. You can’t really miss it.
You’ll have to agree that the beach is pretty nice, there’ll be a whole array of different sights wandering up and down the beach so don’t forget to bring your sunnies for a good discreet look. Make sure you head north up the beach (turn right when you’re looking at the water) and head up to Legian and Seminyak. There's some nice restaurants up that way where you can grab a bite, can definitely recommend a mango smoothie if its not Bintang o’clock yet.
Thats pretty much it for Kuta, you’ll probably spend the day people watching at the beach intertwined with a paddle in the surf. If you’re there for a for a party it won’t be hard to find.
Overall I thought Kuta was pretty cool but I guess it depends on what your intentions are.
Tips/Advice for Kuta, Bali
Large Bintang should cost around 30,000 Rupiah (about NZD$3), just ask for two glasses if you want to share. Cheaper than buying two small beers for 20,000 each.
You don’t need a scooter in Kuta unless you plan on traveling a fair distance, plus it’ll take a while to build up enough confidence to tackle driving in the crazy traffic. If you do get one, make sure you get a helmet (we saw one bad crash).
Sunscreen. I know you want to get a tan, but the number of red tomatoes I saw walking around was enough to convince me to lather myself in the stuff. Don’t ruin your trip by getting sunburnt on the first day. Trust me, the tan will come.
And a helpful tip regarding ATMs in Indonesia...
There a two types of ATMs in Indonesia:
- One will give 50,000 Rupiah notes with a max of 1,250,000
- One will give 100,000 Rupiah notes with a max of 2,500,000 (sometimes less)
We wanted to save on withdrawal fees, so we always used atms with the max limit. The Mandiri ones generally had the highest limit.